World Series of Poker Europe

Check-Raise Bluffing a Loose-Aggressive Opponent at the WSOP

Jonathan Little
  • Though risky, aggressive plays can help impose your will rather than be at the mercy of the cards.

  • @JonathanLittle breaks down his check-raise bluff versus a LAG opponent in a WSOP Main Event hand.

The 2016 World Series of Poker is already in full swing, and as it goes I'm going to continue to share some hands I played during last summer's WSOP in order to try to draw some lessons worth keeping in mind going forward.

This week's hand comes from the $10,000 buy-in WSOP Main Event. As you'll see below, the hand comes from early on Day 1 when the stacks are still deep all around.

The blinds are 50/100 and I've chipped down from the starting stack of 30,000 to 25,000 to begin the hand. It folds to a loose-aggressive player on the button who raises to 300. (By the way, in the video I talk a little about how I've already pegged this player as loose-aggressive despite it being so early in the day, highlighting some of the ways you can make those reads quickly at the table.)

I look down at {A-Spades}{8-Diamonds} and call the raise, and the two of us see a flop of {10-Spades}{7-Spades}{5-Diamonds}. I check and my opponent bets 400, and I make a decision to check-raise bluff. While these aggressive plays may seem quite risky, there is significant value in being able to impose your will at the table instead of being at the mercy of the cards.

Hear my explanation for why I decide to opt for the check-raise in this spot, and see what happens next after my opponent calls my check-raise.

The hand ended up presenting a few interesting postflop decisions. It also shows the value of playing back against loose-aggressive players on your right in order to get them to stop applying pressure on you, particularly early on in a session or tournament.

How do you think I played this hand, and how do you deal with loose-aggressive players on your right? Let me know in a comment below.

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $6,200,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

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